As I write this, you’re most likely bracing yourself for the beastly annual task that is carving out a pumpkin. If you have more than one child, this may even extend to two or even three of the beasts. Aaagh. Each year as I wash off the smelly orange stuff from half way up my arms, I wonder if its worth it.
This year, it will be very much worth it as we’re joining in again with World Vision’s ‘Carve a Heart’ campaign, where instead of a ghoulish face, we carve a heart. Why? To raise awareness, funds and spare several thoughts for the millions of children who live in real fear every night.
Children like Srey* in Cambodia who lives in fear of sexual abuse; Abishek, age 6, in Nepal who is scared another earthquake might come; and Sara*, 14, whose father was brutally killed in Syria and who has fled to Lebanon where she lives with her extended family in a tent.
When I was 14 I lost my sister in a car crash and my father to a head injury. But I can’t imagine the horror of having to come to terms with your father being murdered by armed men, then flee home and live in a tent surrounded by thousands of others, wondering what hope there is for the future. I’d be a mess.
Then there’s Ahmed who’s living in a makeshift tent in Lebanon on his own. His parents got stuck on the other side of the border when they went back for a cousin’s funeral. He works selling chewing gum on the roadside to earn enough to buy good. He’s also 14 years old.
I used to work for World Vision for 5 years and I know first hand that they do the most amazing work with children in these places and beyond. I even visited the house in Cambodia where former sex worker girls like Srey, some as young as 12, are housed and given a training in a skill they can earn a living from. Your money will be spent well.
Now I know some of your kids, like my son, might be crestfallen at the thought of not being able to draw some elaborate ghoulish face on his pumpkin. “That’s the whole point of Halloween!” he reminded me in no uncertain terms. Well, if that’s the case, maybe do one with a heart and one with a hideous face of their choice. And teach them something along the way about why we’re doing this.
I’m also going to show him this ginormous pumpkin that someone grew for the campaign. Apparently its the biggest in the UK. Now that’s a piece of carving if ever I saw one!
This Halloween why not help turn a night of fear in to a night of hope? Carve a heart in your pumpkin and then text HEART to 70060 to donate £5* to World Vision and help children living in fear. It you have twitter, tweet it to #carveaheart
*not their real names
About World Vision:
World Vision Christian organisation, is the largest international children’s charity. World Vision teams are working in the world’s hardest places, with continued presence in almost 100 countries. Our projects teach children and adults about child rights, help them access education and skills training, enable parents to earn a more stable income for the family, provide shelter for children fleeing conflict, help children come to terms with past trauma, and help kids towards a childhood free from fear.
- 2 billion people live in fragile contexts and are especially vulnerable to crises and conflicts
- In 2014 a staggering 102 million people were caught up in humanitarian crises
- 47 million 15-17 year olds are involved in hazardous work and child labour
- Nearly 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 are forced to marry
- In 2014 World Vision UK helped 51,566 children through direct child protection
- Almost all WV projects include child protection work
- In 2014 World Vision trained almost 200,000 young people to better protect themselves and others (198,222 young people)